When I was a little girl, Sunday lunch was a fend-for-yourselves kind of affair. After a long morning in church, my father would tear off his clericals, and he and I often sat down to a microwaved bowl of frozen mac & cheese. I know, the horrors. To this day, I occasionally cave and nuke myself one, in part for the memory, and in part because it genuinely isn’t half bad (I have it with a glass of wine now. So sue me). Luckily, my palate has also become more refined in the intervening years, and so I have expanded my cheese repertoire. I could probably live on cheese and nuts, to tell you the truth.
As with any new city, the way to get to know Ottawa is to ask around for hot tips. Or, in the digital age, subscribe to a bunch of local blogs. Thus it was via Girl About O-Town that I first read about Serious Cheese (do check out their site for tips on buying, serving and storing cheese). Ha! I thought… I am very serious about cheese! Count me in!
And so exploring I went, to meet the giant blue Beemster cow (yes, apparently everyone has to pet it; it’s instinctual) and survey the wonders of cheese (over 150 kinds!), cheese accessories (from fondue to cheese cutters to crackers and compotes) and freshly baked bread from the True Loaf Bread Co. in the Glebe.
They also serve their Serious Mac & Cheese (with bacon or plain), grilled sandwiches, and daily soup (they also make a mean coffee).
Fancy-ing up comfort food seems to be a whole “thing” these days, and this Serious Mac & Cheese is notable in this genre for its exceptional mastery of tastes and texture. Smooth, even, complicated, not excessively stringy, with a hint of spices, the Serious Mac & Cheese is a work of art. The first time I had it (with bacon, since that was all that was left that afternoon, and I don’t even especially like bacon), I very nearly wept. As described on the website, Serious Mac & Cheese is “made with an imported Elicoidali Pasta,” and is a blend of “Perron Cheddar (Quebec) and a Thunderoak Gouda (Ontario)” with “a touch of delicate spices.” Mmmmmm….
One cannot do justice to mac & cheese with a photograph, but I made a valiant effort nonetheless. Behold the wonder (and get more cheese porn from the bottom of this page):